(Review) IML Compensation Plan – Forex Trading MLM

iMarketsLive is a popular entrepreneurial academy program that also goes by the name “IM academy” or “Mastery Academy” after a rebranding campaign. It is also referred to as IML, an abbreviation of the original name.

This program initially began as grounds for amateur investors to learn the forex market and has since grown into a multi-industry investing learning program. The “academy” is available in multiple languages and even has its own app.

In this review from IBuyIReview, you’ll discover not only what iMarketsLive is about, but also learn more about their compensation plan, which reveals a lot of their business structure, giving you insight into whether or not the program is the right choice for you and your goals.

Table of Contents

What Is iMarketsLive?

You might not be surprised to learn that iMarketsLive, also abbreviated to IML, is an MLM company. The difference between this company and any other product-based company is that its offering is entirely online. Because of that, the IML compensation plan was born to help incentivize their members to recruit others into the program and sell the product.

No surprise there.

Still, it’s worth discovering whether or not this program is a scam, or if it’s a legitimate offering that could provide some value to you.

First, let’s talk about their audience. IML provides its services to over 120 countries, accounting for a global network of educational videos and tools that are intended to help aspiring investors get into the Forex trading market.

Located right in the heart of New York City’s financial district, there’s no guesswork about the kind of industry the company is targeting.

Forex trading might seem like an intimidating industry to get into, but when you break it down, it can sound simple. (1)

At its simplest, forex trading is similar to the currency exchange you may do while traveling abroad: A trader buys one currency and sells another, and the exchange rate constantly fluctuates based on supply and demand.
Forbes.com

Still, it’s not an industry suited to absolute investing beginners, as the market tends to be highly volatile, with trillions moving through the market every day.

According to their website, a core part of the IML mission is to “empower people […] build better lives […] give meaning & purpose.

A major point of critique I have regarding the site is that much of the content on their website is vague and geared so heavily towards self-improvement and happiness that it’s difficult to tell that it’s related to investing anymore if it weren’t for a few off-handed mentions of “your financial life.”

is iMarketsLive an MLM or Pyramid Scheme?

Both MLMs and pyramid schemes get a lot of bad press. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, are illegal in many countries, including the United States.

It can be difficult for the average person to determine whether the company they are buying into is a pyramid scheme or simply an MLM company, especially considering many pyramid schemes will hide their activities behind a MLM façade.

This leads everyone down a confusing grey area, but the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, draws a distinct line where these schemes cross over and become illegal. (2)

Pyramid schemes […] all share one overriding characteristic. They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public.
FTC.gov

Essentially, once the company crosses the line of incentivizing distributors to recruit and making most of their profit off new recruits, that’s when it becomes a pyramid scheme. The heavy focus on recruitment is what the FTC is trying to avoid. MLMs are allowed because, while distributors are allowed to recruit, the company receives most of its revenue from product sales.

Let’s get something straight: even with an MLM, just because it’s legal doesn’t make it any more of a legitimate business opportunity. Your chance of achieving any meaningful success – that is, profit – is typically 1%.

This figure is from a real report that came out a few years ago and was sponsored by the FTC; the remaining 99% of people who participate in MLMs either break even or, more commonly, lose money.

IML has a compensation plan that closely mirrors an MLM company, and I truly do believe that they are making most of their revenue through the sale of their membership.

Is Forex Trading a Good Way to Make Money?

Forex trading is a mixed bag with many people singing its praises and others warning the average trader away from the field. (3)

It’s not considered an ideal market for the beginner because of its volatility; it’s also beneficial if you stay on top of world affairs, playing the market according to how international powers are interacting with one another, the state of international travel, and other global circumstances that might affect the trade of currency between two nations.

Forex trading may make you rich if you are a hedge fund with deep pockets or an unusually skilled currency trader. But for the average retail trader, rather than being an easy road to riches, forex trading can be a rocky highway to enormous losses and potential penury.
Investopedia

Overall, it’s no secret that the market is volatile and requires constant monitoring. Foreign exchange trading can be a good source of income, but only if you know what you’re doing. Most individuals trading in this space are seasoned investors, large companies, or professional day traders.

If you’re going to dabble in the trade, expect it to be a gamble to get started. Many sources recommend setting aside a large sum dedicated to the venture and expect to stick around for a while to learn the ropes, lose a lot of money, and explore the market. Most starting accounts trade with $5,000, risking up to $50 in any one trade.

Is the Program Still Active?

Yes, the IM Mastery Academy program is still active. While it might not seem like they’ve updated their homepage or public content for a while, you can still get involved and pay for enrollment… But there’s a caveat to that statement, which we cover below.

The program boasts all the benefits of signing up to new members right on their homepage and “get started” landing page with pictures of people smiling and families relaxing together. It makes me feel like I’m about to sign up for a health and wellness subscription box.  

By signing up, you receive full access to three of their investing academies, a goLIVE mentorship, and “strategies that will empower you with the ability to take full advantage of several of the largest financial markets in the world.

Well, that’s not a strictly defined product, so there’s no telling how you receive those mysterious strategies. For such a price, I would want to know what I’m buying into.

Oh, and that caveat I mentioned above?

Perhaps in an effort to make their offer as exclusive as possible, they’ve locked out any option of enrolling unless you’ve been referred by a member. To join, you have to enter the username of the person who referred you into the program.

If you enter an invalid username, you get an error message to retry. There is no option to enroll without someone’s referral, at least on the latest version of the site at the time of writing.

How Much Does It Cost to Join?

The Elite Academy is what I chose to investigate first, which is their top ‘best of both worlds’ choice that gives you access to all three of their investing academies.

There is a one-time enrollment fee of $325, and a monthly fee of $275 that will charge to your account. While this sounds expensive, they do attempt to alleviate the sticker shock with the benefits of signing up.

Unfortunately, not many of these benefits are covered on the website, and because I don’t have a referral, I’m not able to join.

With other plans, you can sign up for their individual academies. The information given on-site isn’t revolutionary or eye-opening in any way.

The FRX Academy provides you with access to their Forex trading academy, which was the first offering they ever provided to users.

The DCX Academy – one of their more recent offerings – provides investors and hobbyists alike with information on digital currencies. There is no mention of the specific currencies discussed on their site, but they do discuss Bitcoin predominately.

The HFX academy is dedicated to a variety of high frequency markets trading a variety of commodities like stocks, bonds, metals, and more.

An additional offering takes a step away from the world of investing and stocks and plunges you deep into learning how to create and run an eCommerce store without an inventory.

It’s important to note that none of these packages are available without having a referral, and this only includes the training, not the IBO package which allows you to recruit others and take advantage of the IML compensation plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an IBO?

An IBO, or Independent Business Owner, is what the company calls their distributors who can recruit others into the program. These people are the ones who enable you to join the program by entering their username on the “get started” page.

Of course, it’s not free to become an IBO with the academy. To gain a potential for referring other members into the program and profiting from it, you have to pay a set rate up front.

According to the academy’s help article, there is a monthly fee that you must pay each month to qualify for any commissions. This rate is a surprisingly low $16.71 – but you must have an active and enrolled account to join this program.

What that means is that the $16.71 isn’t the only fee you are paying, but you would also be paying the monthly fee for the training academy that you’ve enrolled in.

Why Review a Compensation Plan?

A lot of people end up joining companies like this not because they value the product or the service provided by the company, but because they see an opportunity to become an “independent business owner” through the company.

Translation: there’s an MLM to join that allows you to make money off recruiting new members.

This walks a fine line between pyramid scheme and MLM, and while there’s always some heated debate going on across the internet about why the FTC hasn’t banned all predatory business models, it always comes down to where the line is drawn.

There are many other ways you can make a living from the internet today, but many people still insist on joining these familiar business models to add structure to their efforts in becoming a self-employed entrepreneur.

Unfortunately, when the structure provides you with an upline who receives part of your sales and you’re incentivized to recruit new members to stay in the program and meet your quotas, it can be easy to slip back into the employee mindset. Only this time, there’s no safety net, and you’re working with a low ceiling for potential profit.

By the time you realize you’ve created another job for yourself, rather than becoming your own boss, it can be difficult to get out. Social pressure from your uplines and downlines alike will often keep someone in an MLM far longer than they’re comfortable with, causing burnout and a negative opinion about remote work.

That’s why.

By providing a clear overview of what the compensation plan looks like ahead of time, you can project that onto your vision for success and determine for yourself whether it’s a good idea for you to join, or to keep searching for a different opportunity.

Can You Make Money with IML?

Yes, there is always the possibility that you make money with the program, whether you enroll in the IBO program or stick to investing using the educational content on-site.

The company has received mixed testimonials regarding the success of the educational content, but it’s difficult to tell if it’s because of bad advice given by the instructors, or if the investments made weren’t good opportunities. There is always a baseline level of risk inherent in investing in any market.

Realistically, I would not hold my breath if I were to join the IBO program. Not only is financial investing a difficult sell, the price of IML is prohibitive for a lot of people who are just getting into the industry.

As an IBO, you would not only have to convince your potential recruit of the power of investing in the market, but you would also have to sell them on a monthly subscription to a training program.

What Risks Are Involved in Forex Trading?

With any kind of investing or trading business, there’s never any guarantee that you’re going to make money, even if you have an excellent instructor. Investing in any kind of stocks is a gamble that depends on the volatility of the market and real-world events and interactions.

Forex, cryptocurrency, and the other markets that IML focus on are not only volatile, but highly dependent on international politics and laws, more so than in other industries.

The type of trades you engage in will depend on your risk tolerance and your ability to fund the investments. When you put those funds into the market, there is always a risk of losing that money, even if it looks like an ideal situation or easy win.

Knowing that there are plenty of people who learn the ropes and make a lot of money by playing the market just right. Any type of investing, if successful, can net a wildly successful profit. The risk comes form not knowing whether you’ll lose or gain a trade when you make the investment.

Overview of the IML Compensation Plan

To gain access to the IML compensation plan, you have to enroll in the IBO package which is an additional charge to your account on top of the academies you are enrolled in. To get a detailed view into their exact process, you have to join the IBO program. These stats aren’t available to just anyone, even after enrolling in an academy.

There are four ranks that you can achieve as an IBO of the company. Starting at the lowest commission rate, level four, you can earn 5% for every recruitment.

  • Level three – 5%
  • Level two – 10%
  • Level one – 30%

To move up the ranks, there’s another layer to the compensation plan. In addition to moving a certain product volume, you must recruit a certain number of ‘subscribers’ with the minimum “platinum rank” placing you at a monthly pay of $150 for 3 maintained subscribers.

The ranking system moves all the way up to $500,000 each month for the Chairman 500 rank. Few – if any – people achieve this rank, as it recruits a product volume of 4.3M and 30,000 subscribers. A few spokespeople for the company have claimed to achieve Chairman 10 or Chairman 25, which brings in $10-25K respectively, with a minimum subscriber count of 500 and 1,250.

Would I Recommend IML Based on it's Compensation Plan?

Absolutely not. There are too many red flags for me to enroll on my own, and the compensation plan leads me to believe that the only people who achieve the chairman rank are those who are apart of the company’s C-suite or in a similar position.

For the thousands of other members who have joined the IML program over the years, getting 3 members to subscribe can be a challenge. From my digging around, I’ve managed to find a couple of people who made it to a platinum rank, netting a few thousand a month, but the rank can be shortlived as the recruits leave, forcing you to continuously recruit new people into the program to maintain any significant rank.

Talk About An Easier Way to Make Money...

Are you looing for an easier way to make money that doesn’t involve risky trading practices? No, you won’t be taking a deep dive into forex trading, but you also won’t be getting deeply involved in an MLM, and that alone is an interesting prospect. 

I’m talking about a legitimate business model that doesn’t make you rely on someone else, or a mentor, or anything. The program I’m talking about gives you all the tools you need to be successful and allows you to direct your own path.

This program is called Local Marketing Vault. It follows a legitimate business model that enables you to get in touch with real local businesses and help them obtain the customer base that they desperately need in a world that is increasingly digitized.

There’s no shady practices here – you’re not posing as a non-existent business, and you’re not luring unsuspecting customers into a trap.

You’re helping that real local business get in front of the hyper-local customers who want their services right then and there, connecting the dots between consumer and producer. In return, the business either gives you a base payment each month or pays based on the number of leads you bring into their business. Now that’s what I call a fulfilling job!

Don’t feel like following the suggested business model? No problem! You can take the skills you learn from the program and apply it just about anywhere in the digital marketing space. Once you learn how to run ads and create funnels, you’re one step closer to working in the paid advertising space – the digital equivalent of billboards on a busy highway.

As thank you for reading my blog, I managed to grab a sneak peek for you – click below to get a free demo of the training and see if it’s the right choice for you.

References:

  1. Forbes.com, A Basic Guide to Forex Trading, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/what-is-forex-trading/
  2. FTC.gov, Pyramid Schemes, https://www.ftc.gov/public-statements/1998/05/pyramid-schemes
  3. Investopedia.com, Can Forex Trading Make You Rich?, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/073115/can-forex-trading-make-you-rich.asp